Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


Food selectivity in children with autism spectrum disorders and typically developing children

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Department of Pediatrics; Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Case-Control Studies; Child; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive; Child Nutrition Sciences; Child, Preschool; Diet Surveys; Eating; Female; Food Habits; *Food Preferences; Humans; Male; Nutritional Status; Questionnaires


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Pediatrics | Psychiatry and Psychology


OBJECTIVES: To define food selectivity and compare indices of food selectivity among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and typically developing children, and to assess the impact of food selectivity on nutrient adequacy.

STUDY DESIGN: Food selectivity was operationalized to include food refusal, limited food repertoire, and high-frequency single food intake using a modified food frequency questionnaire and a 3-day food record. Food selectivity was compared between 53 children with ASDs and 58 typically developing children age 3-11 years. Nutrient adequacy was assessed relative to the dietary reference intakes.

RESULTS: The children with ASDs exhibited more food refusal than typically developing children (41.7% of foods offered vs 18.9% of foods offered; P

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that food selectivity is more common in children with ASDs than in typically developing children, and that a limited food repertoire may be associated with nutrient inadequacies.

DOI of Published Version



J Pediatr. 2010 Aug;157(2):259-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.02.013. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of pediatrics

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed